Religion Magazine

No Tall Buildings in Haredi Jerusalem

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Haredi rabbonim of Harei neighborhoods of Jerusalem had a meeting in which they discussed issues affecting the community, specifically the issue of the housing crisis.
According to Behadrei, the result of the meeting was that despite the severe shortage of available housing in the Haredi community, the rabbonim have instructed the Haredi representatives in office to oppose construction of tall buildings.
Two reasons are mentioned for opposing tall buildings:
1. it is not appropriate for the Haredi lifestyle. They often do not rely on "Shabbos elevators". Often such buildings do not or cannot include sukka porches. etc
2. Such buildings might be an attraction for more modern families to move in (i.e because they do rely on "Shabbos elevators").
The first issue is perfectly reasonable, in my opinion. If tall buildings are not appropriate for the Haredi community, buildings in Haredi areas should not be constructed in that fashion.
The second issue bothers me. It does not bother me directly, but in a more roundabout way. I get that they want to keep their neighborhoods with like-minded people, and that makes sense to me (even if I don't necessarily agree).
However, when we see the Haredi community moving into secular neighborhoods and then making changes due to their presence, and fighting against any opposition to them, with what right do they have to turn around and say we don't want anyone different from us in our own neighborhoods, while at the same time saying you have to accept us in your neighborhoods despite our differences?
The second claim is specious at best, and hypocritical at worst.
They talk about a demarcation line, north of which would be declared Haredi neighborhoods, and south of which would not be. So in other words, north of which only Haredim can buy homes in, south of which only secular can buy homes in, until the Haredim also want to.
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